By Bera Dunau Staff Writer
---- — They are breaking out the tandoori again in Fly Creek Saturday.
The Fly Creek Methodist Church will host its eighth annual Taste of India fundraiser featuring a large Indian meal.
Co-organizer Meg Kiernan said that the response to the event has been positive.
“They love it,” she said. “It’s something different than the usual chicken and biscuits (or) spaghetti dinner.”
Kiernan said the fundraiser had its origin in a potluck where everyone was asked to bring an Indian dish. The event was such a success that the participants decided to make a fundraiser out of it.
For the event, Kiernan said the organizers decorate the dining area, giving the space a restaurant feel.
“We make it authentic,” she said.
She said that the food is mostly vegetarian, although there is always a chicken dish. Some of the dishes being made for this year’s meal are saag paneer, which is made with spinach and Indian cheese; channa masala, a curry made with chickpeas; samosas, fried turnovers with spicy vegetable filling; and a cauliflower dish. Kiernan said there will also be lots of basmati rice, raita (an India yogurt sauce), chutneys and naan (Indian flat bread.) For desert, gulab jamon will be served, a dumpling-like sweet served in syrup.
Kiernan says that each person at the meal is given a plate with some of everything on it, although people can ask for seconds on a particular dish if they wish.
The event takes place over two seatings, at 6 and 8 p.m. The suggested donation is $20. According to Kiernan, guests who want more food should go to the fundraiser’s second seating.
“Go to seating number two and you can have leftovers,” said Kiernan.
As for the spice content, Kiernan says that it is more focused on flavor than heat.
“It varies with the different dishes. We try to keep it mild to medium,” she said.
Still, there is an option for those who want more fire.
“We always have some kind of a hot chutney,” said Kiernan.
The dinner is made possible by about ten different volunteers, whom Kiernan refers to as the Fly Creek Chefs. She says that each volunteer, including herself, donates a dish to the meal. All dishes are homemade, and after the dinner has been completed, the volunteers get to eat.
“We sit down and eat all the leftovers,” said Kiernan.
Although some of the volunteers have been to India before, Kiernan has not. She says that she hadn’t been very familiar with Indian food until an Indian woman started cooking Indian meals every Friday at a Bed and Breakfast in Cooperstown that she used to own.
Each of the fundraiser’s two seatings can hold forty people. Kiernan says there is still space available, although the event has sold out in the past.
“We generally get between 70 and 80 people,” said Kiernan.
Kiernan says that they hope to raise between $1,200 and $1,400 this year. All money will be donated to the Fly Creek Methodist Church.
One person who hasn’t been before, but is excited to attend the fundraiser, is Fly Creek Methodist Church’s new pastor, Sharon Rankins-Burd, who started last July.
“I am so looking forward to this,” said Rankins-Burd, who added that she has heard many good things about the event.
For reservations, email Kiernan at firstname.lastname@example.org.